- Leigh Torrence has Ade Jimoh's special teams prowess with better coverage skills. Despite the issues on the late deep pass that set up the game-winning field goal last week, one does not break into a cold sweat when Torrence is called upon to play nickel back. There was no such confidence with special teams ace "Uh-Oh" Jimoh lined up in coverage.
- Not that I'm one to talk, but Ryan Plackemeier should either drop a few dozen pounds or wear a looser jersey. I know punters aren't real football players, but he looks like the guy at the mall who thinks he's ripped and wears too-tight shirts but the bulges are flab, not muscle. His punt was OK, just OK. He didn't shank one that let the other team score a field goal without needing a first down as his predecessor did last week, so I guess that represents an improvement.
- On several occasions London Fletcher did exactly what you have to do to stop a big back. He got to Jamal Lewis in the backfield and hit him low. Lewis didn't always go down right away but he wasn't able to get any momentum and he was tackled quickly. Some of Lewis' best gains came on a toss sweep, away from the middle of the line and Fletcher.
- There was some puzzling clock management at the end of the first half. The Redskins had the ball at their own 33 with 2:28 left in the half. Portis ran for seven and the team dawdled as the clock ran down to 2:00. Portis then broke loose for 20 to the Cleveland 40 and still there was no sense of urgency. The next snap came with 1:16 left. After a pass to Moss gained six, there was another leisurely huddle and then a snap with 41 seconds left. With 35 seconds left, the Redskins called their first timeout. They nearly ran out of time, but they were able to get a field goal attempt off on the last play of the half. Zorn said that he didn't want the Browns to have any time left to be able to score. Given that Cleveland hadn't even sniffed the Red Zone all half, I'm not sure why that was such an overriding concern.
- As of halftime, Portis had outgained the entire Browns team, 75 yards to 59.
- Shaun Alexander got a few touches in his debut. He told me that he was working off of a very limited package of running plays. As he stood in the locker room, his Redskins hat was so new that it still had the size sticker on the bill.
- What's striking about Portis' running is that he gains yardage without the offensive line blowing the defense into the backfield snap after snap. The energy is focused on opening a hole and it doesn't have to be a very big one for Portis to slip through for five yards. It's not the Red Sea parting, it's more like a few strategically-placed rocks in a creek. On Portis' touchdown run, Lorenzo Alexander just push their men sideways while Randy Thomas gets about a yard of push. Jansen kind of bumps into his man, knocking him over, and tumbles into the end zone. Portis never set foot in the end zone but he got the ball across the plane of the goal line. There is no physical domination in the style of the Hogs, but it's smart blocking and Portis knows how to use it.
- It was a slightly different story on a 27-yard Portis run early in the fourth quarter. On this one, the O-line got a good push and created a pile on the inside. At the point of attack, though, Samuels stepped back as if to pass block and just shoved his man out of the way. Portis got to the second level quickly and an Santana Moss block—nothing spectacular, he just stayed engaged with his man—sprung him. This was the middle play in the three-play drive that led to the Redskins' winning TD.
- That came on a pass to Moss. A safety covering deep isn't much help when you send Moss streaking across the middle like that. The spin move to stay inbounds, make the tackler miss and get into the end zone isn't something you can teach.
- That put the Redskins up 14-3. I'm going to break down the goal line stand tomorrow in the Tuesday Take, so I'll stop here.
For months, draft conversation suggested that there wasn't an offensive tackle to pick in the Top 10. And after Bradley Chubb, there wasn't an edge defender worth a Top 10 pick either.
All of a sudden, that conversation is changing.
Late charges from Notre Dame tackle Mike McGlinchey, Boston College defensive end Harold Landry and University of Texas San Antonio pass rusher Marcus Davenport are starting to influence mock drafts.
On Wednesday, NFL Network's Peter Schrager predicted the 49ers to take McGlinchey with the ninth overall pick. Charley Casserly, in a mock draft with NBC Sports Washington on Monday, predicted the Chicago Bears take Davenport with the eighth overall pick. Reports on Landry are all over the place, but some guess he could break the Top 10 as well.
The thing to remember about the NFL: It's a passing league. Positions tied to the quarterback are the most important, and that means protecting the QB and getting after the QB is in high demand. No position will ever get over-drafted like quarterback, but it's not a surprise that teams might reach for players at tackle or edge rusher.
What does this mean for the Redskins holding the No. 13 pick?
It means great news.
Washington will already benefit from four QBs going in the Top 10. That will likely push down an elite talent to their draft spot.
If McGlinchey, Davenport or Landry also crack the Top 10? Even better.
The Redskins need help at just about every position group on the defensive side of the ball. It's well documented how the team struggled against the run in 2017, but the defense also lost Bashaud Breeland and Kendall Fuller this offseason.
There will be a number of weapons available for Washington at 13, and that could include players like Minkah Fitzpatrick or Derwin James in addition to Vita Vea or Da'Ron Payne. It might mean Tremaine Edmunds or Roquan Smith lasts to 13 too.
For the Redskins, Fitzpatrick or James at 13 seems like a steal. Both players present elite potential at the evolving position of nickel cornerback. They can play some corner, some safety, and James might even be able to play some linebacker.
Regardless of the eventual destination for James or Fitzpatrick, if more surprise players sneak into the Top 10 on Thursday night, the better Washington's options become. And that includes the possibility of trading down, Vea or Payne, Smith or Edmunds.
More elite options at 13 only helps the Redskins.
Redskins fans should be rooting for Mike McGlinchey, Harold Landry or Marcus Davenport early Thursday night. The folks in Ashburn will be.
MORE 2018 NFL DRAFT:
- Mock Draft 9.0: Almost draft day
- Top Prospects: RB options for the Redskins
- Top Prospects: WR options for the Redskins
- Need To Know: Rich Tandler's Seven-Round Redskins Mock Draft
- Mega-Mock Predictions: DC Media choose No. 13 pick
Want more Redskins talk? Of course you do. Click here for the #RedskinsTalk on Apple Podcasts, here for Google Play or press play below. Don't forget to subscribe!
NBC Sports Washington’s four-part digital series ‘E-Boyz’ -- chronicling the illustrious past, decorated present and bright future of the Edmunds family -- is NOW LIVE. Check out a new episode daily, leading up to the 2018 NFL Draft. Watch the third episode above and more here.
A position change. A school change. A season-ending injury.
Those are the kinds of things that prevent an NFL career from ever starting. But none of those things stopped Trey Edmunds from reaching the league and contributing for the Saints as a rookie in 2017.
Trey, the oldest brother in a family that features 2018 prospects Tremaine and Terrell, came out of high school as a linebacker, but became a running back after enrolling at Virginia Tech. After three productive seasons with the Hokies, he transferred to finish up his career with Maryland, yet his senior season was cut short after fracturing his foot five games in to the schedule.
That injury was a big reason why the 2017 NFL Draft came and went without a phone call for Edmunds, so he signed with the Saints as an undrafted free agent in May. There, he played spot duty on special teams for much of his rookie campaign before his breakout moment in November:
Now, heading into his second pro year, Edmunds will reportedly have to fight for a roster spot in New Orleans again. But hey, adversity is something the 23-year-old is very familiar with, so don't bet against him.